My First Savvy Year
I initially found Savvy in September last year after a Google search of theatre companies in my area. Originally, I searched for singing or martial arts groups (I enjoy both activities but, I’m not good at either). Eventually, I decided a theatre company might be worth a try, since I had enjoyed performing in drama classes and school plays in my early teens, but never given it much thought after leaving school, despite the fact my little sister is heavily involved in theatre as an associate director and reviewer.
A quick browse of the Savvy website revealed an eclectic mix of different shows in a riot of colourful costumes and included a video in which a woman put a colander with lightbulbs stuck to it on the head of another woman. ‘Hmmm.’ I thought to myself. ‘That looks a little too mad, maybe I’ll just ask if I can help behind the scenes’.
By May, they had me dressed in a mouse onesie, jumping up and down, shouting “BAZOOKA-ZOOKA BUBBLEGUM!”, in the middle of Richmond. Strangers looked confused, the dogs they were walking looked confused, I was confused. Apparently, this madness is contagious. Upon joining Savvy, I found rehearsals were energetic, fun and more than a little crazy. To tell you the truth, in the first few months at Savvy, a lot of the time was spent bewildered what an earth was going on, in the best possible way. This is because of the huge number of exercises Sheree gives us each week to help us practice an element of performing on stage. Whether it was voice projection, movement or improvisation, Sheree would always find a way to make it interesting through fun activities and exercises. It can be, and still is, challenging to act out emotions which are in stark contrast to how you feel during a rehearsal, but no one judges you for how well you perform. What really matters is that you try. Try I did, and I got thrown into the performances almost immediately. Forget being thrown in at the deep end, this was being thrown in so far that you miss the pool and hit your face against the tiles on the other side! I loved it!
Early this year, I was a pirate and a spy (not both at the same time) for Savvy’s Gala performance, where my mouth dropped open when it was announced Savvy would be the company in residence at Fairfield Halls from mid-2019! The amount of emotion on the faces of Sheree and Alice left no clues about how much this meant to them.
In summer, we spent our time rehearsing for Midsummer Night’s Dream, an immersive theatre performance in Beddington Park. Where do I start in describing what an incredible experience both rehearsing and performing this show was? It was an amazing space to perform in and watching how Sheree pulled the different elements of the show together, piece by piece, over the weeks and months was fantastic. The weather was great, the costumes were sublime, and the performance was enjoyed by all. It was a great way to spend a weekend, as the proudest Wall you’ll ever see.
After finishing the last show, I got home and watched the video Sheree and Alice recorded as a final farewell to the 2018 summer season. I’ve never seen two human beings look so exhausted and so energised at the same time. It confirmed to me something which was obvious from the moment I joined: that Savvy is a labour of love which they put their hearts and souls into every day. How they manage to do it is beyond me, but long may it continue.
Being part of Savvy has been exciting, baffling, humbling, loud, eye-opening and fun. It has provided energy and stress relief in equal measure, and it’s a pleasure to be part of the journey. Most importantly of all, it’s provided amazing experiences which have taken me out of my comfort zone, allowed me to meet some wonderful people and extended what I thought I could achieve. Savvy’s outlook is, if all the world’s stage, try and include people in a broad way.